ZEE Marathi Disha – Moving in a new direction
When politicians meet, light-hearted political banter and one-upmanship is inevitable. This was on full display when Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, former chief minister and union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde, MNS chief Raj Thackeray, and union minister of state Ramdas Athawale met at the launch of the ‘ZEE Marathi Disha’ weekly on Tuesday.
Pointing out that he launched ‘ZEE Marathi Disha’ by pressing a remote control, Fadnavis said “When they gave me the remote control, it was just for launching and that’s all. Maharashtra had only one man possessing remote control and that was late Balasaheb Thackeray. Even though I launched Disha , the remote control will always be in the hands of Subhash Chandraji.”
Union minister of state for social justice and Republican Party of India (RPI-A) chief Ramdas Athawale, who is known for crossing swords with Raj Thackeray, noted that his meetings with the MNS chief were not easy these days.
“We are both Rajya Sabha members,” said Athawale, while referring to Rajya Sabha MP Subhash Chandra. “The Rajya Sabha session begins from (December) 15. Let’s see what happens in (the) Gujarat (polls),” he noted, taking a pause as the audience went into splits. “We are not worried about 2019 and we do not think about 2024 now. We must accept what happens in a democracy,” said Athawale.
Not to be undone, Raj, who spoke immediately after Athawale, began his address with a poem—mimicking Athawale, who is known for breaking into verse.
Recalling that he has known Prime Minister Narendra Modi for years, Shinde said, “I had attended the release of Subhash Chandraji’s biography at Prime Minister’s residence. After losing Lok Sabha elections in 2014, we have forgotten road to 7 RCR which is Prime Minister’s residence but I went there for Subhashji. After seeing me there, Prime Minister came and hugged me. It is his style and he is so used to it that he had done the same when he was chief minister and I was power minister. But this hug cost me since I lost minority votes as they felt that Modi is my friend.”
Congratulating Zee Group for bringing out a weekly newspaper ‘ZEE Marathi Disha’, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said “Subhash Chandraji is an adventurist and he is poised to show new direction to society”. He said that it was “welcome news that one is trying with print when digital is the buzzword, but Chandraji is known for this”. “Political news is mainly on negative happenings but there are many in the society who are silently working for betterment. They need to be provided with adequate space in the media. Media has an impact on society and positive news can change the very course of social thinking,” he said.’Fadnavis said that the Zee group has been proactive in starting positive initiatives like rakhi for soldiers, and helping Jalyukta Shivar work in drought prone areas, and that is the reason Disha also would utilise positive energy of the media for Marathi minds.
Lauding the Zee group’s contributions in preserving Marathi culture and art forms such as Lavani, former Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde said, “Subhash Chandra is my old friend and he always tried his hands with new things. With his TV show he is guiding youth of the country and in a way providing them most needed guidance for shaping their careers.’
Expressing confidence that ‘ZEE Marathi Disha’ will not be partial to any particular thought or party, Shinde said “I know that Subhash Chandraji is close to the Prime Minister but I know him since 1980s. I know that he maintains his identity and never bows down when it is a question of principles.”
Extending his good wishes for the publication, Shinde said that the initiative can become a daily once it has attained success as a weekly.
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray followed the lead set by Union minister of state for social justice and Republican Party of India (RPI-A) president Ramdas Athawale, and began his speech with a Marathi poem.
“My political cartooning started off at a weekly,” said Raj, adding that working in a newspaper was a different experience. “Despite media like WhatsApp, Facebook, and the Internet, there is no enjoyment like opening a newspaper and reading it,” he said, adding that he liked the smell of a freshly-printed newspaper.
Speaking about his association with Rajya Sabha MP Subhash Chandra, the MNS president lauded his vision and foresight.
Noting that he will draw a cartoon strip in the Shiv Sena organ Saamna on the events in the week gone by, Raj said he would also draw cartoons for ‘ZEE Marathi Disha’.
Union minister of state and RPI-A president Athawale started his address with a poem and said that the politicians on stage were all together for the cause of Maharashtra despite their political differences.
“Our parties may be different, but our language is Marathi,” he added, stating that the weekly newspaper would give a new direction. Athawale said that Maharashtra was a progressive state which had produced icons like Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, Mahatma Phule and Rajarshi Shahu Maharaj, and lauded the launch of the weekly, while adding that ‘ZEE Marathi Disha’ will take a right direction.
Sanjay M Bhaire
(The author is Editor-In-Chief, Across State News)
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